Accepted Papers

Learning instrument invariant characteristics for generating high-resolution global coral reef maps

Ata Akbari Asanjan: Universities Space Research Association; Kamalika Das: VMWare Inc.; Alan Li: NASA Ames; Ved Chirayath: NASA Ames; Juan Torres-Perez: NASA Ames; Soroosh Sorooshian: University of California Irvine


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Coral reefs are one of the most biologically complex and diverse ecosystems within the shallow marine environment. Unfortunately, these underwater ecosystems are threatened by a number of anthropogenic challenges, including ocean acidification and warming, overfishing, and the continued increase of marine debris in oceans. This requires a comprehensive assessment of the world’s coastal environments, including a quantitative analysis on the health and extent of coral reefs and other associated marine species, as a vital Earth Science measurement. However, limitations in observational and technological capabilities inhibit global sustained imaging of the marine environment. Harmonizing multimodal data sets acquired using different remote sensing instruments presents additional challenges, thereby limiting the availability of good quality labeled data for analysis. In this work, we develop a deep learning model for extracting domain invariant features from multimodal remote sensing imagery and creating high-resolution global maps of coral reefs by combining various sources of imagery and limited hand-labeled data available for certain regions. This framework allows us to generate, for the first time, coral reef segmentation maps at 2-meter resolution, which is a significant improvement over the kilometer-scale state-of-the-art maps. Additionally, this framework doubles accuracy and IoU metrics over baselines that do not account for domain invariance.

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